BT's Got the MoJo
Light Reading had a thorough summary of British Telecom's 21st Century Network program. Between that effort, an IP services backbone to replace their switched network system and BT's project Bluephone this old school telecom company seems set to be the pace car for the IP revolution.
According to Light Reading, BT will spend $1 Billion or more a year, for the next 5 years to roll out this new network infrastructure. One yellow flag for telecom watchers -- BT talked a lot to Light Reading about trials that begin in October, saying "we have a lot to learn..." from the trials. One danger -- BT spends too much time analysing this new opportunity and loses this early lead they have defined.
According to VNU Net's Dinah Greek "the first switch will bypass the core PSTN network link between two major network nodes at Woolwich and Cambridge." According to the article, "Mass migration from PSTN to the new network is planned for 2007-2009." Still seems like a long way away.
With project Bluephone, BT is targeting the handset instead of the network for radical surgery. According to Larry Garfield's article in infosync, "The Bluephone is a multi-network handset, compatible with 3G networks, traditional GSM networks, and with Wi-Fi networks, and able to transparently switch between them."
Andy Abramson in VoIP Watch observes that "These are ambitious plans, but the British Isles are not that big, there are fewer competitors. For PTT's making the switch it's much easier than where there are many players."
David Smith, in his Preoccupations blog ponders the impact for consumers:
It could change the way people use their phones and allow most people with a BT phone line to plug into broadband using computers, mobiles or other devices. It could also mean that mobiles and fixed lines become interchangeable, with the same number and bill.BT has also been championing the "Fixed to Mobile Alliance" which certainly fits in well with their 21st Century Network plans but is bound to spook mobile only operators. Eduardo Prado in his Smart Convergence blog made the interesting claim that "Vodafone said it had declined an invitation to join, despite its recent alliance with BT." He also reported that "...an MMO2 spokesperson said, explaining why the company was not joining the new group: 'This whole alliance seems a bit biased to the fixed line world.'"
But if BT can pull it all together, on the handset and the network, this summary of this latest news over at the neuro.me.uk blog might indeed be accurate, "The future's bright, the future's IP-based!"